3 Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow: HPT, WSM, FAST

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Tomorrow, July 24, 2013, 7 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 1.6% to 6.5%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow:

Hospitality Properties

Owners of Hospitality Properties (NYSE: HPT) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 47 cents per share. At a price of $29.13 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.5%.

The average volume for Hospitality Properties has been 1.0 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Hospitality Properties has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 24.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Hospitality Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in buying, owning, and leasing hotels. The company has a P/E ratio of 38.16.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hospitality Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. You can view the full Hospitality Properties Ratings Report now.

Williams-Sonoma

Owners of Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 31 cents per share. At a price of $58.98 as of 9:36 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 2.1%.

The average volume for Williams-Sonoma has been 983,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Williams-Sonoma has a market cap of $5.7 billion and is part of the retail industry. Shares are up 34.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Williams-Sonoma, Inc. operates as a multi-channel specialty retailer of home products. It operates in two segments, Direct-to-Customer and Retail. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.05.

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams-Sonoma as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. You can view the full Williams-Sonoma Ratings Report now.

Fastenal Company

Owners of Fastenal Company (NASDAQ: FAST) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 25 cents per share. At a price of $47.03 as of 9:36 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 2.1%.

The average volume for Fastenal Company has been 1.7 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Fastenal Company has a market cap of $13.9 billion and is part of the materials & construction industry. Shares are up 0.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Fastenal Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a wholesaler and retailer of industrial and construction supplies in the United States, Canada, and internationally. The company offers fasteners and other industrial and construction supplies under the Fastenal name. The company has a P/E ratio of 31.84.

TheStreet Ratings rates Fastenal Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value. You can view the full Fastenal Company Ratings Report now.

More About Dividends:

One benefit of owning a stock is the potential that you will be paid a dividend. The distribution of dividend payments is another way for a company to share its profit with you. A dividend means that the company pays you a certain amount of money, either as a one-time payment or more commonly on a quarterly basis, for each share of stock you own.

Many times, dividends come at the expense of greater price appreciation, because the company is distributing its profits to shareholders rather than reinvesting the profits back into the growth of the company. However, companies that pay dividends can be very attractive to investors when they offer a steady stream of income. There are some important terms and dates an investor should be familiar with before purchasing any dividend-paying companies. Let's work through an example to help better explain some of these terms:

On March 1, ABC Widget Company has decided that because it holds excess cash and lacks investment opportunities, it would like to reward shareholders with a regular quarterly dividend payment. The date for this particular announcement is known as the declaration date. It is on this date that the company announces the specific dividend payment along with the holder of record date (aka record date) and the payment date. The company announces that a dividend payment of 25 cents per share will be payable March 31, 2012 (the payment date) to all shareholders of record at the close of business on March 16, 2012 (holder of record date). What does this all mean? Well the short story is that the company looks at its records on March 16 and anyone listed on the books as an owner of ABC Widget company will be eligible for the dividend payment (on March 31).

The one other important term to remember is the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date (typically two trading days before the holder of record date for U.S. securities) is the day in which a company begins trading without the dividend. In order to have a claim on a dividend, shares must be purchased no later than the last business day before the ex-dividend date. A company trading ex-dividend will have the upcoming dividend subtracted from the share price at the start of the trading day. Many times, the price of a stock will increase in anticipation of the upcoming dividend as the ex-dividend date approaches, yet will fall back by the amount of the dividend on the ex-dividend date.

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